This exciting three-day-a-week course is ideal for those who are returning to education.

Many Access to Higher Education students win places on the UK’s most competitive degree courses including those at Leeds Arts University.

This course is for you whether you’re just starting out or looking for a new direction in life, and if you’re serious about a professional career in art and design.

We offer a supportive atmosphere in which to develop your skills and interests, and to build your confidence. Successfully completing the course will enable you to apply for art and design degree courses here or at any other higher education institution.

We’ll help you with your UCAS application and we offer lots of individual guidance as to which course and institution are right for you, plus support in putting together a strong portfolio of work as part of your application.

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course details

What You'll Study

Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design)

The course includes skill development and visual awareness, portfolio-building, visual studies, a broad based project, self-directed briefs, and historical and contextual studies (1960s onwards). You’ll have the opportunity to work on live briefs including competitions and community projects. Each year we arrange educational visits to galleries, museums and sculpture parks.

Our Ideal Students

Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design)

We welcome students who are returning to education, who are wishing to make a start with their career in the arts as well as those looking for a career change. Students should have some art and design experience but we welcome people from a range of backgrounds.

Entry Requirements

Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design)

You will be required to show us a portfolio of work at interview which demonstrates a broad range of skills in a number of media and materials. Click here for our portfolio guide.

Applicants for this course are usually over the age of 19, however if you are 18 or under you must have already achieved GCSE Maths and English at grade 4/grade C. 

For full entry requirements please visit:

Where You'll Study

You’ll be based at the University’s Vernon Street site, with access to excellent facilities according to curriculum needs.

Where Next?

Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design)

The majority of our students who seek to progress to degree level study achieve places on higher education courses of their choice, including those at Leeds Arts University.

Open Days

We understand that leaving school and going to University is a big step. We aim to give you all the information you need to make the right decision.

Click here to find out more about our open days. 

1 Year
Study Mode
Full Time
Term Starts
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Validated By

Head of Research to celebrate the launch of her latest publication

Dr. Samantha Broadhead, Head of Research at Leeds Arts University, is celebrating the publication of her latest book Perspectives on Access: Practice and Research. …

Memories of Leeds Arts University celebrated in large-scale art work

The experiences of 46 former students of Leeds Arts University have been reflected in a vast 15 metre mural in the atrium-style entrance of the University’s new state-of-the-art building. …

Latest news

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Leeds Arts University wins student choice award for Best University Facilities!

Leeds Arts University was announced as the winner of the Whatuni Student Choice Award for Best Facilities, taking the prize for the third time in six years. …

New arts building opens at Leeds Arts University

A £22m state-of-the-art building expansion has opened at Leeds Arts University, providing new studios and facilities for students. …

Leeds Arts University is shortlisted for University of the Year

Leeds Arts University has been shortlisted in four categories at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, including the prestigious University of the Year. …

Leeds Arts University is University of the Year for Student Retention

Leeds Arts University has been awarded ‘University of the Year for Student Retention’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019! …

Latest Events & Exhibitions

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Janet Rawlins: Life …

Janet Rawlins (b. 1931) grew up in Horsforth, Leeds, and studied for a National Diploma in Design (N…


Rosemary Chalmers: C…

Rosemary Chamlers' research explores speculative biology, world-building and believability in creatu…

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Open Days

We hold a number of open days throughout the year where you can visit us, meet our staff and have a look at our industry-standard facilities

Watch Now

End of Year Show Film

Each year the University becomes a gallery and showcases the final year students' work to artists and industry from across the UK.

Zuzana Marekova


Zuzana took the Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design) course at Leeds Arts University and is now studying for a degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design.

"This course is for you if you're just starting out or looking for a new direction, and if you're serious about a career in art and design."
Adam Stone
Access to Higher Education in Art & Design and Level 2 Diploma in Visual Arts